Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This brave gay man has built himself up a huge social media presence of nearly 2 million followers in conservative Russia after carving out a career as a top makeup and beauty influencer.
Russian Andrey Petrov, who prefers to call himself Andrew, 23, is a popular make-up artist and social media influencer and he now boasts a whopping 810,000 Instagram followers and over 1.02 million YouTube subscribers.
The young man grew up in an unreported provincial town but moved to Russia’s capital after finishing high school.
Quiet and athletic, Andrew was a good student and measuring in at 1.87 metres (6 foot 1 inch) tall, he was a member of his school basketball team.
He came into the spotlight with his first make-up video, where he analysed a BB-cream – a type of foundation that also moisturises – designed to combat acne, which he suffered from prior to his graduation.
This was the turning point in his life, as quickly instead of focusing on higher education, he decided to focus on developing his social media accounts.
Even though Andrew has no extensive training in make-up, he has managed to reach the semi-finals at a popular Russian reality show called Meikaperi (Make-Up Artists).
Andrew recalls this as a rather difficult period of his time, as his family did not support his aspirations, and this was also the moment when he started experimenting with his look and underwent a number of plastic surgeries.
In 2019, Andrew came out as homosexual to his mum and he reportedly posted the footage of him telling her online for his followers.
He admits it is not easy to be openly gay in Russia: “Yes, I carry pepper spray in my handbag – a harsh one. All of my friends bought pepper spray, stun guns and batons too.”
Despite coming from a conservative family, his mother reportedly said that her attitude towards him would not change and that she still loved him.
Andrew is regularly trolled by haters online, with for example ‘2_s_5’ saying: “You are so ugly”.
And ‘igor.romanoff’ said: “You are such a loser, stop promoting your way of life in media”.
But other netizens are more supportive.
Netizen ‘Semen A’ said: “He might look extravagant, but this guy is undeniably talented and smart.”
While ‘nekto’ added: “I am so inspired by him, he is rather successful but most importantly he looks happy.“
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